What are the causes or solutions to discrimination in To Kill a Mockingbird?
Segregation was a daily fact of life in the Deep South during the 1930s. As Jem points out in his theories of "the four kinds of folks in the world," Negroes were on the bottom of the social ladder of Maycomb--lower even than the Ewells. So important was the trial of Tom Robinson to such a small community that the fight against racism took a "baby-step" forward when Atticus simply managed to sway a single white juror to consider Tom innocent. Ultimately, the all-white--and all-male--jury made the decision Atticus knew would result. He had simply hoped to "jar the jury a bit," hoping that Tom would receive a better chance on appeal. But it would be decades before African Americans gained fully equal rights, and in the year 1935, there was no solution to the racism found in daily life as well as "in the secret courts of men's hearts." Men like Atticus would teach their children to treat all people fairly and equally, and the younger generations would lead to the changes that came so slowly to Maycomb.
But there were other forms of discrimination found in the town. Women did not receive equal treatment with men, and they existed in Maycomb in a sort of revered yet second-class status. People with apparent mental problems such as Boo Radley were locked away; people with disabilities, like the deaf sisters Tutti and Frutti, were made the butts of gossip. As is often the case, Maycomb's citizens suffered from a fear of the unknown when it came to people they deemed different; and as a town rooted in isolation from its earliest days, social ostracism seemed like a fitting punishment to be handed down by the townspeople.
If you use this response in your own work, it must be cited as an expert answer from eNotes. All expert answers on eNotes are indexed by Google and other search engines. Your teacher will easily be able to find this answer if you claim it as your own.